Capacity-building: an inquiry into the local coastal program component of coastal zone management in Louisiana
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Social research specifically aimed at evaluating the efficacy of coastal zone management programs at the parish (county) level in building local capacities has been meager in academic literatures and absent from Louisiana Department of Natural Resources evaluative reports. This study addresses this deficiency by examining the effectiveness of Louisiana's Local Coastal Program (LCP) in building local coastal zone management capacity. Using levels of LCP development as a proxy for capacity-building, the study examines the influence of: 1) aggregate level social and demographic characteristics, 2) structural differences, and 3) different types of issue framing (i.e. "regulator" framing versus "regulated" framing). A multiple case design, using survey, interview, observation, and archival methods of data collection, produces two multi-layered data sets - one at the parish level (nineteen Coastal Zone parishes) and the other at the individual level (a target population of parish officials, CZM administrators and advisory panel members). Patterns in findings from quantitative and qualitative analysis are matched to rival theories, namely, resource mobilization theory and social construction theory. The analyses show that parishes with LCPs have a much stronger presence of "regulator" framing than do parishes without LCPs. The "regulator" frame is particularly strong among LCP/CZM advisory panel members, while agreement with regulator frames is lowest among parish council or police jury members. Coastal hazards vulnerability is highly salient to parishes both with and without LCPs, but the translation of hazard impacts to economic vulnerabilities, such as infrastructure damage, property loss and business interruption, is far weaker for non-LCP parishes. Themes prevalent in the data include contentions over wetland mitigation issues, disjunctions between the restorative and regulatory arm of LADNR, and disparate perceptions between non-LCP parishes and LCP parishes concerning the benefits of a parish LCP over developmental and maintenance costs. Overall findings indicate that while resource mobilization is necessary to programmatic participation and the building of capacity, social construction theory can explain the differences between respondent agreement with the regulator frame, and thus the presence of institutional capacity.
Norris-Raynbird, Carla (2003). Capacity-building: an inquiry into the local coastal program component of coastal zone management in Louisiana. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from